It is because of its traditional warm hospitality – and the fact that so many of the valley's inhabitants have found their soul mates here among the beautiful locals! – that the borough acquired its nickname, the “Village of Love”.
The beautiful village is located in a sunny position at the opening to the Val Genova, on the southern slopes of Cima Lancia (2317 m). Its name seems to derive from carice (sedge), a plant that once grew abundantly in the area. The old settlement lies on the right bank of the Sarca di Campiglio river, at the foot of the slope whose summit houses the parish church of San Nicola. The fountains in granite (an important factor in the village economy), the sacred murals, granite portals and wooden gable-ends are what make the village so distinctive. Post-war expansion, however, has seen the settlement extend into the alluvial valley floor of the Sarca di Genova.
Close to the village, at the top of the cliff overlooking the Sarca, is the ancient church of Santo Stefano. It has existed since 1368 and was rebuilt in the 16th century. On the south wall are the famous frescoes depicting the life of St Stephen, the Dance Macabre and the Seven Deadly Sins, all painted by Simone Baschenis in 1519. Inside, an interesting fresco depicts a catechumen being baptised by a pope in the presence of Charlemagne. The work purportedly documents the legend of Charlemagne's passage through Val Rendena.
High on a cliff on the southern slopes of Cima Lancia sits the distinctive whitened form of the church of San Martino. The building is of medieval origin and was presided over by a hermit until 1850.
Carisolo municipal territory is the starting point of the road that rises to Val Genova, until just before the evocative Nàrdis waterfalls.
Points of interest
The ancient chestnut groveThe Carisolo chestnut grove, restored in 2009, was described in 1673 with great admiration by Michelangelo Mariani, historian for the Council of Trento. The chestnut grove once played a valuable role in the Carisolo economy. It was planted by local residents on communal land, based on privileges of Roman origin that granted full ownership of the tree and the right to harvest its fruits. The trees here gave people wood, tannins and, of course, chestnuts. To this day, the chestnut grove features centuries-old trees in a fantastic array of forms on terraced land supported by circular containment walls.
The ancient glass factoryIn 1804, two business partners, Bolognini and Pernici, opened a glass factory at the mouth of Val Genova in order to take advantage of the area’s wealth of water to drive their machines, and the supply of wood to fuel their furnaces and to construct their buildings. Quartz was also easily obtainable here in the quarry in Val di Borzago, as was manual labour. These two master glass makers came from Bohemia, a region known for its longstanding tradition of producing and working glass. The factory closed in 1888 and was purchased by Carlo Pernici, who transformed the workers’ residences, the warehouses, and factories into elegant holiday homes. Today, the perimeter walls are all that remain of the vast building that housed the furnaces and where the glass was created and worked, having been partially dismantled during the First World War. Another curious relic is the small track and carts that have survived from the days in which glass was actually produced here.
Geopark learning centreLocated in Carisolo at the start of Val Genova, the Geopark learning centre is dedicated to all enthusiasts of earth sciences and to anyone looking for a fun way to learn more about the geological wonders of the Adamello- Brenta Nature Park, through scale models, interactive experiments, and multimedia workstations. There are also widescreen videos that are highly effective at making you want to experience the great geological variety of the two immense mountain ranges that, in 2008, helped the Adamello-Brenta Natural Park to be named an international Geopark.
Church of Santo StefanoPerched atop a rocky spire overlooking the old glass factory and the mouth of Val Genova is the Church of Santo Stefano Protomartire, a construction first mentioned in a document dating back to 1244.
Many of the works decorating the church were carried out by Simone II Baschenis between 1519 and 1534, such as the Last Supper in the nave, the Dance Macabre on the outside of the church, the series of twenty frescoes depicting the life of St. Stephen and the representations of the seven deadly sins. There are also the frescoes of the outer chapels and the crypt and a curious fresco inside the church that depicts Charles the Great in the company of the pope surrounded by soldiers and bishops in the act of conducting a baptism.
The Hermitage of San MartinoIn medieval times, a hermitage arose above Carisolo, the white walls and bright red roof of which can be seen to this day. The first mentions of the San Martino hermitage date back to 1312, but it wasn’t until 1485 that a monk from Bergamo, Baldessarre de Pluzana was authorized by the prince-bishop Giovanni Hinderbach from Trento to rebuild the church, aided by offerings from the Rendena community, to be his home. The hermitage is a simple, rectangular structure in which there are a few prayer benches and a small altar, above which there is a painting of St. Martino.
Altar of the Church 23 of San NicolòThis altar, made entirely of wood, was created in the 1600s by an artist originally from Roncone, Giovanni Battista Polana, but wasn’t acquired by the Carisolo parish and installed as an altar until the second half of the eighteenth century. The statues and other works that decorate the altar in non-linear bands depict various themes, characters, or allegories. Each band depicts different figures or themes that gracefully present the Christian message.
Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of Power Built in the 1800s in a small clearing between Carisolo and the old glass factory, the Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of Power originally marked the start of a Way of the Cross up to the Santo Stefano church and cemetery. Today, what remains of this medieval chapel is the image of the Virgin Mary with Child, now located in a recess to the right of the nave within a frame of inlaid wood.